David H with provocative questions. They are fair questions, stated respectfully:
I'm interested in how you viewed the information regarding Alford pleas. I think it cuts both ways - if Alford pleas are possible, and Lueke did not affirmatively maintain his innocence, it seems that this would cut against him. These pleas are rare, though, and the prosecutor may not have been willing to go along with the plea deal if Lueke wanted to state his innocence on the record. A five second google search shows that California permitted these pleas at least as recently as 2006 (defendant: Jean Peyrelevade). But as to your larger point, Alford is indeed a formal, legal recognition that some defendants plead guilty while disputing their guilt.
I'm curious, though, about how many people rushing to give Lueke every possible benefit of the doubt would do so in other guilty plea (or nolo contendre) situations. I'm not calling anyone out specifically, and not assigning specific motives or biases, but would there be such support voiced if he was not a talented white athlete in the Mariners organization? Or just not a talented athlete? Or just not white? Or just not a Mariner? Think about all the people sitting behind bars because of a guilty plea right now - are you (not you jemanji but you commenters straining to find some gap in the information to support Lueke) as willing to assume they may be actually innocent as you are to assume that Lueke may be?
Here are over 250 people wrongly convicted and later exonerated by DNA or other evidence. According to the data compiled by the Innocence Project, "In about 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty." People confess and plead guilty when they are innocent. This is a known fact. Do you give the benefit of the doubt to other convicted felons, or just Lueke?
=== Single White Female, Dept. ===
I believe that the question about Lueke's whiteness is a little retro. The president is black, the most popular movie star is black, and conservatives will vote Condolezza Rice long before they'll vote John Kerry. :- )
Many here remember that one of the three or four hottest flame wars on Detectovision.com was over Dr. D's defense of Carl Everett -- a "very" black man. And everybody will remember the hyper-friendly SSI/MC attitude toward Milton Bradley.
Sports fans especially pick their faves -- Junior, Michael Jordan, Edgar, whoever -- based on factors other than the color of their skin these days. That's my opinion, anyway. I'd have rather had Jesus Montero than Justin Smoak....
=== Bias, Dept. ===
There is a tendency toward the Lueke side of the argument this week on SSI, no doubts there. I believe that this is for three reasons:
1) The other half of the story has been already been stated and argued, by Geoff Baker in the Seattle Times.
2) There is a backlash in America against a court system, and media system, that is unfair to white males accused of sex crimes.
3) The truth on this issue is toward the Lueke side of the argument.
The "backlash" isn't an Angry White Male thing. It's a simple recognition of injustice. Political excesses are necessarily going to cause equal-and-opposite reactions.
Geoff has argued strongly, but in my humble opinion in some points incorrectly -- and the very detail of his argument have seduced the analysts here into filling the vacuum with accurate responses.
Any reader is welcome to go back to the beginning of this discussion, and see that, if anything, the general consensus was too tentative about defending Lueke's point of view. Only after the truth began to dawn, did opinion coalesce around the idea that, "Hey, this kid really isn't getting a fair shake."
Josh Lueke physically looks, and comes off in print, as a fairly unsavory character. I don't think people wound up siding with him because he's a sympathetic character.
Hold up your hand, if you believe that SSI readers would have analyzed the arguments differently, if the accused had been Michael Pineda.